Think of chaos and then multiply that by thirteen and you have the setting of Morgan Matson’s new YA novel, Save the Date. Charlie Grant is in a state of longing – that is, she can’t wait to spend the entire weekend with all of her siblings at the family home. Yes, it’s for her sister’s wedding and yes, it will be crazy, but it has been so long since all of her brothers and sisters have been under one roof. So saying she’s excited is an understatement. But drama ensues and everything hits the fan – what could go wrong, does and what shouldn’t go wrong, epically does. It’s an achievement of crazy and it’s utterly spectacular.
I have to admit that I fell in love with Morgan Matson’s writing after reading, The Unexpected Everything. It gave me all the feels and I adored the characters and the storyline and it was just so adorable.
Save the Date did not disappoint. It follows the perspective of Charlie Grant, the youngest of five, on the weekend of her sister’s big day. There is less of an emphasis on romance in Save the Date than The Unexpected Everything, but I found it refreshing and honest. I believe that if Matson had focused entirely on Charlie’s supposed romance with her long-time crush Jesse, or the new wedding planner in-training, Bill, it would have detracted from the actual core of the story which is, family.
I loved the cast of characters foremost. The siblings and the extended family, even the neighbours, created such an incredible dynamic that added to the story’s honesty and reality-esque energy. The story’s main protagonist, Charlie, is an interesting character. I say interesting in the sense that Save the Date acts also as a coming-of-age novel where the readers get to witness Charlie growing out of her rose-tinted glasses and seeing the world and the people that she loves, for what it and they really are. There were times where Charlie became completely frustrating! Like girl! Snap! Out! Of! It! But she’s seventeen/eighteen, and she’s so young so I had to stop myself from being too hard on her because fundamentally, we have all been a little bit like her. She is strong and intelligent and able to deal with any sort of drama that throws itself in her path. She is the rock that holds her family together, that keeps her family sane; and she doesn’t realise it until the end of her journey, which was beautiful to witness. Charlie goes through considerable emotional upheaval in a small amount of time, but she keeps going and her love for her family is unwavering.
The one major critique I have is the length of the novel. The novel spans from Friday to Sunday in one weekend, with a prologue and epilogue, so to speak. The total number of pages was 436, in my eBook copy. However, it wasn’t so much that it went slow; no, actually I found the pacing quite well done and everything flowed very well. I just found it strange how sudden the ending occurred. Without spoiling the major ‘twist’ of the novel, towards the end of the novel, Charlie and her siblings find out something that will irrevocably change their lives. But the emotional fallout following this is not portrayed. Instead we have the ‘epilogue’ where everything is picture perfect and way to healthy. You’ll know what I’m saying when you read the novel, but the probability of it being that amicable is quite low. But I think a little more exploration into how Charlie deals with this situation, and her way of deciding which college to go, should have been done in slightly more detail.
Overall, I rate Save the Date by Morgan Matson 4.5/5 stars. Honestly, anyone who is a fan of YA that is rampant with crazy family antics and drama with a side dish of insanely adorable flirting, should pick this book up and devour it. And, there’s a little doggy! SUCH A GOOD BOY!
Save the Date is out so be sure to check it out! Make sure to also follow along the reading tour as there is a chance to win Save the Date!!!
Until next time! Happy reading!
NOTE: I received this copy thanks to NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.